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South Carolina vs. Kentucky: Game Balls

At least the defense came to play last night...

NCAA Football: Kentucky at South Carolina Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

Kentucky prevailed in a semi-expected contest Saturday night with the defenses shining for both squads.

There were definitely some things to feel good about as a Gamecock fan but more issues from past weeks that were left unresolved.

A definite positive was that the secondary looked like they got it together after being shredded by Georgia.

South Carolina allowed a total of 102 passing yards, although part of that reason could be Kentucky quarterback Will Levis’ lack of an ability to throw downfield. On one of the only times he attempted to, Levis had his pass picked off on a very suspect throw that ended up in the hands of Jaylan Foster.

Forcing four fumbles and recovering two were undoubtedly some positives defensively, but the run defense took a bit of a step back.

When Kentucky’s passing game was obviously not working, you would think stopping the run would be predictable or more of an emphasis, but instead, Chris Rodriguez picked up 144 yards on the ground with 5.5 YPC. Not ideal.

What the defense lacked last night, it made up for in turnovers, so I’m not going to dig too deep into them.

The real story was how the Gamecocks won the turnover battle 3 to 0 and still lost the game. The defense would set up the offense with great field position, and they would be unable to finish or even get points on the board.

But hey, it’s still a work in progress, even if people don’t want to hear that. I don’t have too many players to recognize, but let’s give this a go.

Offensive Game Ball: N/A

After struggling mightily in the first half while having to deal with vanilla play calls like short passes and runs up the middle, I thought the Cocks were going to figure it out in the second act after Doty came out slinging it, but nope.

The touchdown was followed by two five-play drives and a four and out, including one especially questionable call to go for it on fourth down in field goal range when I thought they should have just trimmed the lead to three.

Doty was held back in the first half and was missing throws like a potential touchdown pass to Josh Vann late in the first quarter.

Additionally, the run game was held in check for the entirety of the contest with no one in South Carolina’s running room being able to make a difference. Kevin Harris was the leading rusher with 38 yards...

Just a poor performance today with many things to fix.

Going 3 for 12 on third down and 0 for 3 on fourth isn’t something to smile about.

No game ball awarded.

Defensive Game Ball: Jaylan Foster

This was an obvious choice.

Foster continued his impressive start to the year with his play against Kentucky.

He was out there all over the field making plays with 12 tackles and a quarterback hurry on top of an interception midway through the second quarter.

I would say his pick was more-so luck because of a terrible throw on a post route, but he still managed to come up with the big play because of a good read during a close game.

What cannot be argued is the fact that he’s logged an interception in every game this season. I can call his last pick luck, but those numbers don’t lie!

He’s been the backbone of this defense for a few weeks. Let’s see if it continues.

Honorable Mention: Jalen Brooks

Just wanted to give this man a shoutout because he’s finally starting to make an impact on the field.

Brooks caught the team’s only touchdown on the day and caught a clutch 30-yard pass from Doty with four minutes and change left in the fourth quarter.

It just felt like every big gain on offense last night was to Brooks.

He was really the only guy that was able to make the intermediate to long pass a thing on a night where Vann was rather invisible.

That is all! I’m looking forward to a nice morale-boosting dub against Troy next week.